We're back in Hilo again! I've adopted Bob (our couchsurfing host here) as my uncle because then I won't feel so bad showing up at his door and crashing on his futon when things don't work out elsewhere. He doesn't seem to mind at all. In fact, I think he likes us!
The place we went to check out today was outside of Pahoa Town in the Puna district, the eastern most point of the island. This is what they call the "Wild West" of Hawaii, which seems counter-intuitive because it is to the east but it makes sense because it is the newest part of the islands. An undeveloped final frontier made up of intermittent lava flow over the last few hundred years. This area is world famous for black sand beaches and proximity to the volcanoes but is locally famous for the amount of hippies, squatters and organic farms! Whoda thunk it?
We were picked up in Pahoa by the proprietor and he seemed like a nice enough guy but when we pulled into "the farm" it became very apparent that this was a worse situation than the one we had just left. On the ride there he mentioned just having gotten rid of a bunch of losers and scabies. That really should have been the tip off. We should have gotten out of the car and saved the next hour of our lives.
The "farm hostel" was a bunch of open air, thrown-together, shacks with tin roofs. Basically a garbage dump with a sort of kitchen. There was a lady there covered in what they call "haole rot" and scabs from a sun burn. (Haole is the local word for white person or mainlander.) Hoooooo eeeee! Our accommodation was a platform 6 inches off the ground with no walls and a futon frame covered in moldy pillows and foam. Did I mention that we were expected to pay $20 a night for three nights before our work trade would start?
As soon as we were left alone, I started to cry. I am not expecting a hotel here but this is squalor, this is an absolute sham of a hostel or farm. I can't even believe that this place is in the WWOOF book. I was appalled and totally grossed out. Jay was trying to get me to pull it together and I was really trying but after a good look around we both gave up, put our packs on and said goodbye. We hitched rides back to Pahoa and waited for the bus while a local crack head regaled us with tales of drunk-driving and a loveless childhood.
The bright side is that after seeing this place, the gulch looks like a four star hotel! We will continue to look for more opportunities but in the meantime it is nice to know that we have a place to stay that only expects 10 hours of us weekly.